Just another child dead

Amer Nasser, 17, His Last Poem

April 5, 2013

We have an appointment with death,
We have become familiar with our shores of despair …
— Samih al-Qasim,  1939 – present

On Wednesday late evening (April 3rd) and overnight, two unarmed teenagers, cousins Amer Nassar (17) and Naji Abdul-Karim Balbeisi (18) were shot dead by Israeli Defence Force troops.

The two were from the village of Anabta, near the town of Tulkarm, in Palestine’s West Bank. Tulkarm was founded in the 13th century, its name derived from the Aramaic “Toor Karma” meaning “mount of vineyards”.

Amer died from a bullet in his chest at 22.30 on Wednesday night, according to eye witnesses. Hearing shots, three boys from the village went out and found Amer lying on the ground, with soldiers standing over him. When they tried to reach him, the soldiers opened fire, injuring one, Fadi Abu-A’sr, in the arm, and he was  subsequently hospitalized.

The three say that ambulance crews were prevented from reaching Amer for thirty vital minutes, with threats to shoot anyone attempting to intervene. Deiyaa’ Nasser, who did attempt to reach Amer “was arrested by the Israeli Army and taken to an unknown location”.

Naji Abdul-Karim Balbisi was found as dawn broke on the following morning, lying in a field. He was reported to have been shot from behind.

Tensions have been high in Gaza and the West Bank since the death of Maysara Abu Hamidya in Israel’s Soroko prison on April 2nd. Sixty-five year old Abu Hamidya was a former high ranking officer in the Palestinian Authority (PA) prior to his arrest, which took place when the IDA invaded the West Bank, destroying PA Headquarter buildings, in May 2002.

Palestinian authorities have claimed that the prison was withholding treatment for his cancer. On Monday released prisoner Ayman Sharawna alleged that Hamdiya was in a life threatening condition in the prison infirmary – with his hands and feet shackled.

The Director of the Palestinian Prisoner Society has held the Israeli regime fully responsible for his death.

So, as Palestinians mark another onslaught, the massacre in the Jenin refugee camp (April 1st-11th 2002) the mourning, heartbreak, lost lives and lost youth grind on. But so does the spirit, the historic roots, in young and old.

Seventeen year old Amer Nasser left a poem. When others of his age write on Facebook of their dreams, aspirations, exams, plans, dates, travels, on March 15th, his last entry, he wrote (translated):

Point your bullet where ever you like in my body
I will die today, but my homeland will live tomorrow
Be careful, Palestine is a red line.

He did not die on March 15th, but just two weeks and three days later, at the hands of “the most moral army” and the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

• The writer is indebted to the resident of Palestine who drew attention to, and translated, Amer’s poem, and to the International Solidarity Movement, for their careful details, on the ground in the village of Anabta, on further tragedy.

thanks to: Felicity Arbuthnot



IDF Lies About Deaths of Palestinian Youths

Amer Nasser brought to West Bank hospital after IDF allowed him to bleed to death

In the aftermath of the death of Palestinian prisoner, Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, from cancer, unrest spread throughout the West Bank, leading to youth protests against Occupation forces.  In one of those protests outside Tulkarem, several teenage boys were throwing rocks at an IDF “pillbox.”  In the midst of this, the soldiers manning the position, who hail from an ultra-Orthodox unit known to include many ultra-nationalist settlers, used live fire and killed one of the boys instantly.  The others fled, pursued by soldiers who ran out of their fortified position to track them down.  In this pursuit of unarmed boys, another was shot and killed by the IDF.  He was shot in the back.  Yet the soldier who killed him claimed he did so out of fear for his life.  You don’t shoot an unarmed boy in the back because you fear for your life.

The justification offered by the IDF for the killings was that the youths were throwing fire-bombs at them.  The only reference I’ve heard from the Palestinian side that supports this is one of the survivors who said that while he was throwing stones, he noted a “bottle” (not a firebomb) next to Amar Nasser’s body.  We may presume he intended to use this as a firebomb, but clearly since it was next to his body it hadn’t been thrown.  Which means that someone may or may not have thrown firebombs at this position.  It may or may not have been one of the murdered boys.  The only way to answer the question is for the IDF to release video footage (unedited) of the incident.  This will corroborate the army’s story if true.

Palestinians who attempted to approach Nasser who lay wounded (three bullets in the chest) at the scene were forbidden from doing so.  A Palestinian ambulance was prevented from attending to him for 30 minutes, during which he died.  Allowing the boy to bleed to death was a deliberate act of murder.  The wounded survivor of the group said that he searched for the second boy who died but his body was not found till the next day.  This leads him to believe that he was apprehended by the IDF and similarly killed or shot during a pursuit.  The fact that no one found his body till the next day is a mystery the IDF should explain.

The army has also claimed that a lookout told the unit that he had heard weapons fired by Palestinians.  Again, we don’t know if there was such a report or whether this is made up after the fact.  But even if it there was, the report turned out to be false.  As a result, two precious (at least to Palestinians, if not the IDF) lives are lost unnecessarily and the West Bank is thrust to the bring of a third Intifada.

By the way, can anyone explain to me why there needs to be an IDF presence at this particular location?  Why does there need to be any IDF presence on the West Bank in areas populated by Palestinians?  Isn’t that why there’s Palestinian security forces?  So to all those who will argue in the threads about how heinous it is to attack Israeli soldiers and you get what you deserve if you do so I respond: the existence of IDF position in the West Bank is itself an unnecessary provocation.  If the IDF wasn’t there, there would be nothing to protest.  If however the IDF wants to provoke Palestinians to violence, then putting its positions right in the midst of Palestinian population centers is a great idea.

Further, stationing the most extreme of Haredi settler soldiers in such an exposed position is another disaster waiting to happen.  What do you expect such a boy to do when faced with Palestinian resistance of even the most limited sort?  Do you think he will exercise caution?  That he will think of the consequences of his actions?  That he will forebear using his weapons to wipe out the perceived threat?

The IDF has announced an “investigation” of the incident: good luck with that!

thanks to: Richard Silverstein


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